For the first time since 1991, the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers will be meeting up in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in what is also known as the Battle of Alberta. This long-awaited series will be only the sixth time these teams will face off in 31 years. The Edmonton Oilers have won four of the five times these two teams have met in the playoffs. Let’s take a look at what this Calgary Flames vs Edmonton Oilers series has in store.
Calgary Flames vs Edmonton Oilers Series Bound to be Exciting
Goal Scorers to Keep an Eye On
For the Flames:
For the Calgary Flames, their top line has been one of the most productive lines in the National Hockey League during the regular season. The top line, consisting of Elias Lindholm, Johnny Gaudreau, and Matthew Tkachuk, scored a combined 124 goals and recorded 301 points in 82 games together. This line scored a third of the 15 goals in seven games allowed by Dallas Stars goaltender, Jake Oettinger. Leading this line in goals is Selke Trophy contender, Lindholm, with three goals. Gaudreau had two massive goals against Dallas, one being a penalty shot and the other being the overtime Game 7 game-winning goal.
Two other Flames that made their mark on the scoreboard were Mikael Backlund and Trevor Lewis. These two contributed to another third of the goals scored in the seven-game series in the first round. Backlund, who only scored 12 goals during the regular season stepped up to the plate and scored three goals during the series. If the Flames want to be successful against the Oilers, these two players are going to have to continue contributing, along with the rest of their team.
For the Oilers:
For the Edmonton Oilers, eyes will already be on one of the best hockey players in the NHL, Connor McDavid. McDavid recorded 44 goals, 79 assists, and 123 points during the regular season. During the seven games series against the Los Angeles Kings, he tallied four goals and a whopping 10 assists. His final goal of the series was the game-winning goal, where he battled multiple Kings defencemen and retrieved his own rebound multiple times before he was finally able to put the puck past goaltender, Jonathan Quick.
During the first, Leon Draisaitl, who played through a high-ankle sprain in Game 7, put up five goals and four assists. This includes three power-play goals and one short-handed goal. The Flames will need to limit their penalties if they want to keep Draisaitl from finding the back of the net. Another Oiler who is having a massive series is forward, Evander Kane. Kane, who had 22 goals and 39 points in only 43 games played, scored seven goals in the seven-game series.
Coming off a hot streak during the series against the Dallas Stars, Jacob Markstrom allowed the fewest goals out of goalies who played all seven games in the first round. Markstrom, only allowing 14 goals, finished the series with a save percentage of .943% and a goals-against-average of 1.53. Both of these stats break franchise records within the Flames organization for a single playoff series. The 32-year-old goalie stopped 178 of the 192 shots he faced. Markstrom lead the league in shutouts with nine during the regular season and recorded one more in the first round.
Edmonton Oilers goalie, Mike Smith, had more of a streaky series against the Kings. He finished the series with a goals-against-average of 2.29 and a save percentage of .938%. Though Smith had two shutouts during the first round, in all three losses he allowed four or more goals. He stopped 244 of the 261 goals he faced. If the Oilers’ defence doesn’t make some changes and prevent some shots from getting to Smith, he will face similar numbers as the Flames are able to create a lot of chances and rushes for themselves.
Previous Series Notes
The Oilers scored 27 goals to the Flames 15 in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Oilers were also able to capitalize on more power-plays, as they went seven for nineteen, while the Flames only scored on two out of 24 power-plays. During the first round, the Oilers laid a total of 267 hits throughout the series, whereas the Flames only laid 199. Seemingly, in the series against Dallas, a very physical game knocks Calgary off their game and style of play. There is no doubt this series is going to be a blood bath but the Flames are going to have to figure out how to keep their wits while also being physical.
The same could be said for the Edmonton Oilers, there is a need to be physical, but not illegal. Defenceman, Darnell Nurse, was suspended for one game during the first series and had to miss Game 6 due to head-butting Phillip Danault of the Kings. In the regular season match-ups, the Oilers won three of their four meetings. Although, this is the playoffs and anything can happen. The first game of the long-awaited series takes the stage on Wednesday.
Prediction: Calgary in 7.